SMITHFIELD - The dedication of a historical marker at the Smithfield Friends Church Cemetery, located at the corner of Main and Maple streets, is set for 1 p.m. Saturday.
The marker reflects on the historical facts of the village, with a focus on the Underground Railroad, according to officials.
The Plymouth Meeting of Smithfield is considered one of the earliest Society of Friends, or Quaker, congregations in Ohio, it was noted.
THE HISTORICAL marker to be dedicated at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Smithfield Friends (Quaker) Church Cemetery was installed Tuesday. Preparing for the event are, from left, Russell Zifzal, who stored the marker at his nearby home; Tony Phillippi, Smithfield Historical Society officer; and John Borkowski, Friends of Smithfield co-president. Frank Kovach assisted in the placing of the marker.
James Carr platted what became Smithfield after Ohio became a state in 1803, and in 1818, the name of Plymouth Meeting was changed to Smithfield Meeting.
Opposed to slavery, many Quakers were "conductors" on the Underground Railroad, such as Joseph and Rebecca Cope, who kept a station for runaway slaves on their farm located on state Route 151, northwest of Smithfield and adjacent to the Northern Cemetery.
Members of the Friends of Smithfield group have worked for almost four years to bring this dedication to completion, with Diane Rodd doing the research. Rich McElroy devoted his time and talents to a book signing of his "American Presidents and First Ladies," volume 3, at a Friendship Park benefit to raise funds for casting the marker.
John S. Mattox, Flushing Underground Railroad curator, is one of the speakers, along with Nancy Dalton, Schaffer Chapel of McIntye member, and Rodd, project researcher.
Mayor Ted Boyd will give the welcome, and Cindy Straus Grace, FOS secretary, will serve as mistress of ceremonies. Derol Martin, Smithfield Friends Church elder, will give the invocation and benediction. Tom McCain, Piney Fork Gwynn Allen American Legion Post 735 commander; and Richard Harris, Smithfield Norris Smith American Legion Post 396 commander, will lead in the pledge to the flag, with Thomas E. Graham, Jefferson County commissioner, singing the national anthem.
John Borkowski, FOS president, and Tony Phillippi, Smithfield Historical Society officer, were in charge of placing the marker.
Refreshments will be served at the Smithfield Historical Society following the program.
A business meeting will be held at 11 a.m., prior to the marker dedication, at the Historical Society.
Borkowski is co-president of the FOS along with Linda Helt. Other officers are Richard McElroy, vice president; Grace, secretary; and Evelyn L. Clouston, treasurer. The board of directors are Ron Long, Grace, McElroy, Linda Kovach and Helen Straus. Boyd is an honorary member as the mayor.
Historical society officers are Judie Phillippi, president; Sandy Homol, vice president; Linda Kovach, and Jodee Verhovec, co-secretaries; and Ruth Kensicki, treasurer.
Major donors for the marker include Helen Straus, McElroy, John Domenick, Philip Allen, Carol Denequolo and Renee Garcia.